Your hair condition can present important clues to what is actually going on inside your body. Significant changes in your hair are signs of potentially serious illnesses ranging from stress and nutrient deficiency to thyroid problems. As hair loss affects an individual’s well-being, it is important to check your hair regularly and be aware of any early causes of hair loss that may lead to health problems, and know the right questions to ask before consulting your doctor.
Do you recently fell unusual itchiness to your scalp? Do you notice falling hairs even without combing it? Or you just feel something is wrong about your hair that you can’t distinguish and figure out? Research shows that changes in your hair can be signs of an underlying condition. Its appearance, texture, and thickness can definitely affect an individual’s core. Many people tend to ignore this since it is perceived as normal due to genetics, but they need to know that hair problems can be symptoms of potential illnesses. Look in the mirror, and follow this step-by-step guide to self-diagnosis.
Hair Flakes May Mean Retrovirus Infection
Hair flakes may be a sign of a human immunodeficiency virus infection. With reduced body immunity and constant medication, 10.6 % of HIV patients have seborrheic dermatitis commonly known as dandruff. It is the yellow or white flakes that can be found on the hair, shoulders and even in eyebrows. During infection, the immune system becomes vulnerable to both viral and fungal infection, such as Cryptococcus, which can cause dandruff and reddish, itchy scalp.
You may want to check your food intake for a few months because dandruff may also mean that you have a poor diet. Experts say people who do not consume foods rich in zinc, Vitamin B and healthy fats are more prone to having this. Not to mention people with yeast sensitivity have a slightly higher risk of having dandruff, so it is logical to assume that yeast may play a part.
Hair Thinning Can Be A Sign Of Cancer
Have you noticed abnormal hair thinning in some portions of your head every day? You must know that there is a link between early baldness and prostate cancer. According to University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Charnita M. Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D, men getting bald before the age of 30 are more likely to get “clinically significant” prostate cancer before the age of 60.
Protein deficiency can be considered as another probable cause since it is an essential nutrient in building your hair.
What about the women? Thirty-eight percent of women by age 70 are affected by the female pattern hair loss (FPHL) which is due to menopause, hormonal imbalance, or metabolic and cardiovascular risks.
Splitting Hair May Be A Result Of Copper Deficiency
Other than hair-shaft fraying due to excessive heat and mechanical stress, split ends can mean an even more serious condition. This can be seen as a copper transport symptom, such as Menkes syndrome and Occipital horn syndrome, which affect copper levels in the body, leading to copper deficiency.
Having too little copper will sever the production of both cellular energy and antioxidants which are essential in protecting DNA from damage. Also, it aids in iron absorption and transportation to the bone marrow. Without adequate copper, iron will accumulate in other internal organs, and can lead to liver failure, heart muscle deterioration, arthritis, and hormonal imbalance.
Dry Hair Is Linked to Eating Disorder
Dry hair may mean more than a bad weather. You should know that dry hair itself can be a symptom of an undiscovered disease. When accompanied by dry skin, brittle nails or other hair problems, it could be a sign of overall malnutrition or diseases such as anorexia nervosa, hypoparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, or Menkes kinky hair disease.
Hair Discoloration May Be An Overlooked Sign Of Vitiligo
Hair discoloration is often predetermined factors due to genetics and aging. Vitiligo is a disease that causes depigmentation in our scalp, eyebrow, eyelash and beard. The affected portion can lighten or completely turn into white. This condition is asymptomatic and can affect both men and women of all ages anytime.
In a German clinical study on evaluating whether diabetes may inhibit the graying process in eyebrow hair, it has been concluded that in 100 patients ages between 50 and 70 with graying hair, 76 percent of the men with dark brows had clinical sign of at-risk diabetes type II, compared to 18 percent of gray-browed men.
Hair Brittleness Might Mean Cushing’s Syndrome
Do your hair strands break before you pull it out from above your ear? Then you definitely have a feeble and brittle strands. Even if you tried using expensive shampoos and treatments but your hair still breaks off easily, then you have a rare trichorrhexis nodosa.
If you have this condition, there will be a patchy, bald area on the scalp, and you experience breakage before the hair grows.
Another cause of hair brittleness is the Cushing’s Syndrome wherein the body has a high level of hormone cortisol. With cortisol overload, the possible complications are diabetes, pituitary tumor enlargement, high blood pressure, and kidney stones.
Anemia May Lead To Hair Shedding
Shedding between 50 and 100 hairs a day is normal, but do you notice more hair on your pillow, shower floor or in your hairbrush? Then this could be a sign that you have anemia. Anemia is a condition marked by red blood cell deficiency or hemoglobin in the blood. This is apparent to people who are vegetarian, or for women who have long and heavy periods.
From Greasy Hair to Lifetime Disease
An oily hair may implicate you have an excessive sebaceous gland production. Other than the negative effect on self-esteem and body image, it surfaces greasiness, blocks pores and contribute to acne build-up.
According to Diagnose-Me, among the possible causes of greasy hair are polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and psoriasis. PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalance. Having out-of-balance hormones will result to diabetes, irregular periods, and infertility. Psoriasis, on the other hand, is when new cells rapidly resurface the skin in days rather than weeks. If acquired, this is a chronic long-term skin problem which cause thick, white, silvery, reddish patches on the skin.
The condition of your hair does not just affect how you look. It is also an important indicator of an underlying serious health problem. If you’re experiencing a sudden change of your hair appearance, make an appointment with your trusted hair care professional.